Our commitment to gender equality
Achieving gender equality is important for the Bar because it is linked to improved productivity and performance, the attraction and retention of talent, enhanced organisational reputation and institutional legitimacy of the Bar and the justice system.
The Bar has made significant gains toward gender equality, however issues for women at the Bar remain. Gender equality at the Bar requires:
- Equitable briefing practices
- Barristers to receive equal pay for work of equal or comparable value
- Removal of barriers to the full and equal participation and progression of women at the Bar
- Participation in leadership roles, regardless of gender
- Elimination of discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender, and
- Recognition of family and caring responsibilities.
The Bar continues to strive toward gender equality, so that all barristers are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender.
A number of the Bar’s initiatives to promote gender equality are set out below.
National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy
The Victorian Bar actively promotes the aims of the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy (Policy), launched by the Law Council of Australia (LCA) in June 2016 and formally endorsed by the Victorian Bar.
The aims of the Policy are to achieve a nationally consistent approach towards bringing about cultural and attitudinal change within the legal profession with respect to gender briefing practices, so as to maximise choices for legal practitioners and their clients, promote the full use of the independent Bar and optimise opportunities for practice development of all barristers. The Victorian Bar has also adopted the LCA’s Diversity and Equality Charter.
Adopt the Policy
You can be involved in these endeavours. The Policy is available for adoption by all barristers. By adopting the Policy, you can demonstrate to your colleagues at the Bar and across the wider profession your support for the aims of the Policy and, through those aims, the continued excellence of the Bar. We encourage you to adopt the Policy by completing the form at the LCA website. The resources outlined below provide more information as to how and why to adopt the Policy.
Guide to reporting for barristers
This Guide is for the benefit of barristers at the Victorian Bar who have adopted the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy. It has been developed to assist barristers to comply with the requirements under the Policy to collect and report data to the Law Council of Australia.
Guide to reporting for barristers
Barrister worksheets and report templates
The Victorian Bar provides a worksheet to assist barristers in collecting data during the reporting period and compiling their report at the end of the reporting period. The worksheet covers all of the categories for which barristers are to collect data and report under the Policy.
Barrister worksheet and report templates
The Silks’ Undertaking is a pledge by Silks indicating a personal commitment to promoting equality and diversity including the Victorian Bar’s commitment to providing a workplace that is free from bullying and discriminatory behaviour and is free from sexual harassment.
The Silks’ Undertaking is here.
The names of Silks who have signed the Undertaking are here.
Women Barristers' Association
The Women Barristers' Association is open to all members of the Victorian Bar to join. It aims to:
- Provide a professional and social network for women barristers
- Promote awareness, discussion and resolution of issues that particularly affect women
- Identify, highlight and eradicate discrimination against women in law and in the legal system, and
- Advance equality for women across the legal profession generally.
Click here to find out more about the Women Barristers' Association.